Dr. Roberta Bondar uses digital medium and DSLR cameras to explore and image the powerful forces and intricacies of Earth’s natural world.
Roberta Bondar's photographic explorations have taken her to some of the most extreme climatic and geological locations on Earth. She has captured the beauty, solitude and dramatic landscape of the American Southwest, the High Arctic and the Sahara Desert with its ancient Roman ruins.
Roberta Bondar's photographic proficiency adds a multi-dimension to her expression of experiences. As an Honors student in Professional Nature Photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California, she was deeply influenced by the poetic tableaus of renowned American photographer Ansel Adams.
Having seen Earth from the unique perspective of space, her Earth centered pictorial images celebrate the beauty of our natural environment at an intimate level.
Her photographic works may be found in private, corporate and institutional collections.
Below find a sampling of Dr. Bondar's photos. Choose a filter to see photos in each series.
The black locust is poisonous to humans and livestock who seek to eat its bark or twigs. Forest-friendly, it provides for seed-eating birds and small mammals. A survivor, the black locust can be planted in areas where other trees rarely survive.
Bobbing at the end of a Norway maple branch, this paper mâché ornament was molded around the leaves that remain stuck in the nest. Unlike bees that have wax-producing glands, many wasps build their nest from layering paper-like material from wood pulp they have chewed. There are no wasps in these abandoned nests and they will not be re-used.
Drought conditions stress vegetation, rendering trees more susceptible to insects and plant viruses. Winter snows will add to the spring melt, necessary for great trees which pump large quantities of water from underground to maintain their strength and vigor. And they do it all without an external energy source.
Being a resourceful lot, Canadians have enjoyed gifts of the maple tree that include the obvious maple syrup in all its grades from clear through light to dark amber; the beauty and hardness of maple crafts and lumber; music in its name and of course, the maple leaf tartan.
From March to May, the magenta pink flowers of the redbud pop out from bare branches and even from the trunk itself, well before the leaves appear. Native to southern Ontario, the redbud is also a popular ornamental tree and a source of seeds for many species of birds.
The weeping willow can be spotted amongst other trees of the canopy by the clouds of sweeping spring color and progressive height of clumps of its branches. Often planted for ornamental purposes, the weeping willow grows quickly and provides great shade, especially in moisture-rich areas.
Taken out the window of a helicopter in gusty winds with a handheld panoramic camera, this photograph reveals the erosion features usually associated with the badlands. The tongue of Arctic ice water attests to the cold temperatures in this arid Polar Desert.
Winds across the surface of Nangmagvik Lake push chunks of ice to mound up as they reach the shore where they melt and congeal into larger masses. As the direction of the wind changes, the lighter ice will be pushed back across the water, to accumulate at another edge of the lake.
Usually, hoodoos are associated with the badlands. Reminiscent of snow cones, these structures actually have small cap rocks, a sign of differences in erosion. These hoodoo formation are on Bylot Island in the Eastern Arctic in Sirmilik (meaning ‘place of glaciers’) National Park of Canada.
In the right foreground of this panoramic view of Tanquary Fiord an oblique strip of water points to a V-shaped dip in the line of glaciers and mountains which leads to Lake Hazen some 50 miles away.
Across the tundra many ponds teem with mosquito larvae and plant life in the short growing period in the Arctic where there is sunlight 24 hours a day. The low-lying hills break the edge between water and cloud.
Fall colors lit by bands of sunlight are quickly darkened by cloud shadows in a gathering storm. This mountain at the upper end of Cottonwood Creek is part of the Dalton Range in the St Elias Mountains.
This historic photograph captured the largest North American Ice Shelf before it split in two. The ice shelf of frozen fresh water, now ten percent of the size when it was discovered during the search for the Northwest Passage over 100 years ago, lies on the northern edge of Ellesmere Island on the north coast of Canada in the Arctic.
Still rising in height, Mount Logan is Canada’s highest mountain (5959 m or 19,551 ft) and the largest in base circumference in the world. This photograph was taken from the open window of an unpressurized helicopter at sunset on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the first Apollo lunar landing. Using the same type of camera that astronauts were using to photograph the Earth from the moon, I photographed the half moon from the thinning air above the Earth.
One of the most difficult aerial photographs that I have composed from an open helicopter window is this view above the seracs and crevasses at the toe of the Lowell Glacier. The sharp pinnacles of ice resemble large teeth, ready to crunch our fragile craft that was pitched up during a left bank maneuver.
The Gate is a rock feature on the Naha Dehé (South Nahanni River) as it winds through Nahanni National Park, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1978. This photograph was taken through an open window of a high wing floatplane, avoiding both wing and float.
Grass mats surround this glacial lake along the edge of the Boreal Forest, named after Boreas, the Greek god of the North Wind. The fall brings out the golden color change of the deciduous conifer, the tamarack (larch) (Larix laricina).
Large blocks of granite are typical of the Canadian Shield with growth of white spruce (Picea glauca) and white birch (Betula papyrifera). The vast pink granite of the Lake Superior shoreline is buffeted by the winds and waves of intense and often sudden storms.
The rust red color of the sandstone cliffs is from the iron oxides in the rock and soil. At low tide clusters of life born by the sea rest along sand and rock.
The blue waters of the Gulf of Iran (Persian Gulf, Arabian Gulf) invaginate the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula to form the Inland Sea (the Khor Al Udeid). This tidal lake separates part of Saudi Arabia from Qatar whose white sand dunes sweep down to the water’s edge.
This is an incredible opportunity to view part of the hidden evolution of Earth as a planet. Differences in the resistance of the sedimentary rocks to the wearing down by natural forces over thousands of years have produced the terraced or stair-step topography.
The panoramic camera used to acquire this photograph was tripod mounted and leveled so that the distant horizon of the Mediterranean is centered and all columns vertical. The rectangle of blue sky and darker blue water is the focal point, drawing the eye through the past to the reality of the present.
Unmatched in its extent and economic impact, the Sahara desert sprawls across Africa, shifting its boundaries as planet Earth continues its dynamic evolution. The dunes owe their reddish color to minerals such as iron, attached to the minute grains of quartz that comprise the sand.
Not a mirage, this cluster of green vegetation marks a source of water in an otherwise arid landscape. Evidence supports the existence of the Ubari Sand Sea for at least 100,000 years, a time when lake waters surrounded some of this land that had remained above the surface.
Two migrating Whooping Cranes feed in an agricultural field in southern Saskatchewan, a traditional staging site.
An aerial image of migrating Whooping Cranes in southern Saskatchewan, a traditional staging site.
An aerial image of the wetlands of Wood Buffalo National Park, the only natural breeding site for the Whooping Crane.
The Sprague's Pipit, a rather elusive species, can be found wintering in the grasslands in Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR in Texas, US.
The rufa Red Knot travels from its breeding area in the central Canadian Arctic to many wintering sites including the central Gulf Coast of Florida.
This Piping Plover, 9E, travelled from its breeding area in Prince Edward Island, CA to the central Gulf Coast, Florida to winter.
The caustic waters of Lake Bogoria, Kenya is one of the Lesser Flamingo's preferred habitats within the East African Rift Valley. The Lesser Flamingos get their pink colour when they ingest cyanobacteria which contain carotenoid pigments.
In conjunction with major international exhibitions, Roberta's latest photographic essay uncovers the Arctic North, the shadows of the Grand Canyon, the burning sands of the Sahara, and many more extreme environments accompanied by her commentary on capturing the Earth.
An elegant love letter to Canada, combining the images of Roberta Bondar and text by some of the country's most distinguished artists, writers, entertainers, thinkers and personalities.
Foreword by the Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau. More than 100 photographs, including six stunning images from space, both of familiar places and little-known wilderness, are interwoven with words about the land by explorers, poets, ecologists and naturalists such as Rachel Carson, Ansel Adams and Wade Davis.
Touching the Earth is an amazing visual and written testament to the beauty and variety of our planet. Dr. Bondar contrasts her two views of "home", with photographs from space and her early photography from its surface, accompanied by text of her journey and reflections on our environment.